Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
Power words are terms and phrases that get results. They move readers to act.
They’re a powerful tool in your writing arsenal. Power words to capture a reader’s eye so she thinks, “That’s interesting! I think I’ll click here.” You need to incorporate those hooks into your writing because these days, readers are inundated with content. Emails, texts, online content, video … you face the same overwhelm, don’t you?
That’s why every word needs to count. Power words help bridge that gap. They let you highlight a tidbit in your content to snag your reader’s interest and help take the next step into your content – especially words that stir up our feelings. People are persuaded to keep reading when you move their hearts.
A story, for instance, gives the reader a peek into the lives of others. A story’s problem, what the person did about it, and the outcome make an emotional connection that appeals to the human heart. Dot your story with power words, and the allure to read it is almost irresistible. Since people make decisions with their hearts more than their heads, a story moves them to act.
Partner your story with compelling facts, framed with power words, to offer logical rationale and support your point. These facts help the reader justify the time she will spend reading your content … and move her to act.
Sprinkle both your stories and facts with power words and you’ve got yourself a powerful one-two persuasive punch.
A handful of power words work in both realms: with stories and with facts. That’s what I like about the word “results.” I can use it to appeal to both the heart and the head.
When you read the word “results,” what comes to mind? Let’s look at an example.
“I was skeptical when the program promised to help my autistic son improve a full letter grade in math in such a short time,” Maria admitted. “But I was overwhelmed by the results.”
Here’s a mom who was at her wit’s end as she sought help to get her son with his arithmetic. But now, as I read about what happened to this family, I’m cheering right alongside them. Maria’s story inspires faith in this program and builds a layer of trust.
So while other power words may arouse emotions like fear, greed, vanity, or pride, the word “results,” used in stories, builds trust.
And not just once. When you reveal outcomes again and again, you prove you are reliable. You do what you say you will do and then you report about it to your readers. Even better,
stories can show different kinds of results. For examples, stories that show how you face and overcome challenges demonstrate resiliency, singleness of purpose, and consistency. Other stories – those that illustrate high quality and good service – validate your reliability. Readers can count on you to deliver what you promise.
Use the word “results” to show outcomes in a story and you’ll inspire the emotion of trust in your reader.
But sometimes the emotions generated in stories aren’t enough to get a reader to take an action, even when sprinkled with power words that build layers of trust, reliability, and consistency. A reader gets all hot and bothered and ready to make a move, but then has second thoughts. She hesitates and is not quite ready to click, buy, give, volunteer, sign up, or simply continue to read.
That’s when facts reinforce the reader’s inclination to act. Facts and logic appeal to her rational mind to buttress her feelings, like this:
Maria’s autistic son had struggled with math since kindergarten. But now, after just six months in the program, test results clocked his computing skills at 5.0. That’s right at the fifth grade level – a full grade and a half above his previous score of 3.5.
Convincing, isn’t it? The word “results” is powerful when it comes to unveiling different kinds of facts, from statistics to research outcomes, examples, historical events, and expert opinion.
It’s an action-oriented word that demonstrates a track record. Results appeal to the head. You use it to quote an experience, a program, product, record, score, or expert and its tangible impact … or show how many, how long, by what time, how much. The facts are concrete and show achievement. That’s why the word “results” is tinted with a sense of accomplishment. Your decision to act, first based on feelings, can now be justified with facts.
Use the word “results” to reveal facts in your content and you’ll ooze credibility.
Stories appeal to the heart. Facts appeal to the mind. Both reinforce each other in persuasive writing. And you can use the word “results” to communicate both.
Recently a client described the perfect content. “It’s 100% heart and 100% head,” he explained.
That’s the kind of content that gets results.
More Power Words to Use in Content Writing and Copywriting
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